Last Updated: Sat Nov 18, 2023 - 1:29PM
Belle Vernon Area continued its quest to repeat as WPIAL champions, as the Leopards rolled past East Allegheny 49-8 in the WPIAL Class 3A semifinals at Norwin High School.
With the win, BVA improved to 10-1, and advances to the title game against No. 2 Avonworth next Friday at Acrisure Stadium at 5 p.m. Last year, the Leopards bested the Antelopes 24-7 in the championship matchup.
Quinton Martin and Kole Doppelheuer each scored a pair of touchdowns for the top-seeded Leopards, while Belle Vernon’s defense forced a pair of turnovers, and stopped the Wildcats on downs five times.
Martin opened the scoring for the Leopards on the first drive of the contest, as he found the end zone on a 4-yard run. Doppelheuer notched the first of his touchdowns later in the opening stanza on a 16-yard run, as the Leopards led 13-0 following a missed extra point.
Belle Vernon Area QB Braden Laux added to the lead with 4:16 left in the second quarter, scoring on a 2-yard surge. The Leps capped off their impressive first half with a 12-yard TD run by Jake Gedekoh, taking a 27-0 advantage into the locker room.
The Leopards enacted the mercy rule on their initial drive of the third quarter, as Martin snagged a 15-yard pass on a slant from Laux for a score, and he followed with a run for the two-point conversion to push the lead to 35-0. Doppelheuer added another touchdown late in the frame, scoring on a 13-yard run.
Brennan Rutledge accounted for the lone East Allegheny (9-3) touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, scoring on a 44-yard pass from Michael Cahill. Deaubre Lightfoot capped the scoring for BVA, finding paydirt on a 17-yard run to set the final margin.
Martin paced BVA with 12 carries for 149 yards, while Gedekoh and Doppelheuer added 119 and 87 yards rushing, respectively.
Cahill amassed 114 yards and a score for EA, while Rutledge snagged seven receptions for 112 yards.